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The Best And Worst Things In 2022's Scream

The following article contains major spoilers for the 2022 film "Scream" — including Ghostface's identity and character deaths. Proceed at your own risk — and whatever you do, don't say you'll be right back.

Hello, readers. What's your favorite scary movie? If you're like many people who lived through the '90s, it just might be Wes Craven's 1996 film "Scream." With its satirical deconstruction of the horror genre, "Scream" effectively roasts itself through its own use of self-aware horror tropes, quickly elevating it to icon status. Who can ever forget Rose McGowan's line, "No, please don't kill me, Mr. Ghostface. I want to be in the sequel." Spoiler alert: She's not.

While the film became the epitome of the '90s, fans are still clamoring for more Ghostface content over 25 years later, leading to what the film lovingly dubs as a "requel." So, what the hell is a requel? It's a remastered version of the original film in a franchise that features the legacy cast and a slate of new characters. It's a dash of remake paired with a sequel and renamed after the OG movie. Although our favorite staples and themes from the first film are ever-present, 2022's "Scream" packs more than a few surprises for new and old fans alike. With the return of Final Girl Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), sheriff Dewey (David Arquette), and ace reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), how could it not?

To many, the requel might be the best "Scream" film since 1996. But there are still a few moments that leave fans disappointed. However, the good certainly outweighs the bad in this revamped classic, and it's safe to say Wes Craven would be proud. So, get that popcorn ready (without getting murdered), because here's the best (and worst) that 2022's "Scream" has to offer. 

Worst: Out of place romance

Most people don't come to horror movies to see awkward romantic scenes — especially between characters the audience has barely met. Before Sam (Melissa Barrera) returns to Woodsboro, she has a pretty uncomfortable "I love you" moment with her boyfriend, Richie (Jack Quaid). The love confession is the first interaction the audience has with these characters, and it just feels ... off.

Given that Richie ends up being Amber's secret serial killer boyfriend, the ickiness makes sense, but it's a little early to be that obvious. It would make much more sense to have this kind of scene take place after Sam gets attacked in the hospital, and we've gotten to know both characters a bit better. But as it stands, it only serves two purposes: Making fans feel awkward and showing Richie's killer cards a bit too early. Let us get invested in a couple before getting sappy in a horror film, please.

Best: Gale and Sidney's badass team-up

Back in 1996, Sidney and Gale didn't exactly begin their decades-long frenemyship with sunshine and roses. That tends to happen when someone tries to sensationalize and profit off of your mom's death. Yet throughout the original film and its sequels, both women came to acknowledge their respective failings and reach a tacit understanding. And hey, it only took two punches from Sidney to get there.

However, time, distance, and going through hell tend to forge a unique bond, and this shines through for Gale and Sidney in 2022's "Scream." Instead of a pair of punches, Sidney and Gale give each other double hugs when they reunite for the first time in years — and neither are thrilled with the other woman putting herself back in the path of the newly minted Ghostface.

Behold the elephant in the room. When Gale and Sidney meet Sam, the new Final Girl, Gale scolds her for being icy to Sidney, commanding, "Hey, watch your tone new girl." But the team-up moments don't stop there. Both women have been around the block more than a few times, immediately clocking that Amber is acting shady when they crash the deadly rager at Stu's old house. It doesn't stop Gale from getting shot, but she tells Sidney to finish the job for Dewey. Of course, Gale Weathers knows how to make an entrance, and she comes in to save Sidney in the nick of time before Sidney gives the gun to her unlikely friend for the chance to avenge her ex-husband's death herself. Amber bursts into flames after Gale shoots her. But any "Scream" fan knows, they always come back.

Worst: Breaking up Gale and Dewey off-screen

Ever since killing off Randy in "Scream 2," and with it any possibility of a Sidney/Randy relationship, Gale and Dewey have become "Scream" fans' favorite couple. They're a bit of an odd pairing: Dewey is a Woodsboro lifer while Gale seeks a journalistic reach that extends far beyond Woodsboro's haunting hills. Realistically, their relationship is doomed from the start.

And although it seems like an inevitability, breaking up Gale and Dewey off-screen is a disservice to Wes Craven. He's not here to weigh in on that decision — and the way it plays out feels cheap and uncharacteristic on Dewey's part. Sure, their reasoning for the breakup makes sense, and that's life, but it's still a bummer. Dewey said he left Gale in New York in the middle of the night "like a coward." Woodsboro lifer or not, Dewey would never. Their reunion confrontation scene is gripping and emotional, but it's a lame thing to do to Dewey's character right before his death.

Best: Subverting racist horror tropes

It's no secret that horror has more than a few toxic, damaging cliches that still exist within the genre. "Scream 2" even addresses this head-on when Gale's cameraman Joel points out that "Brothers don't last long in situations like this." Sure, Joel manages to escape death by getting the hell out of town, but despite acknowledging this trope, the film begins by immediately killing off two Black characters. Not a good look, Ghostface.

However, unlike its predecessors, 2022's "Scream" manages to be self-aware of the worst stereotypes the genre has to offer — and actually fixes them. The film adequately handles mental health topics, and even boasts a stellar female-led cast with women who don't immediately become damsels. Featuring a diverse gaggle of teens, the movie manages to subvert the worst horror tropes, all while avoiding being preachy or taking people out of the film. But even better? Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown)) both survive Ghostface's onslaught to live another day — and in the horror world, that's certainly something to celebrate. In fact, almost all of the diverse characters from the film survive.

Worst: The fallen sheriff

There's no denying that Dewey goes out with a bang, but his death is no less frustrating. The film already takes his status as a sheriff away, forcing him into retirement — which is the reason he goes hardcore vigilante in the first place. After coming to save Tara (Jenna Ortega) like a badass, Dewey kicks the living daylights out of Ghostface, even getting a few rounds into the killer. Yet he makes two vital mistakes that he should have known better than to do: He doesn't take off Ghosty's mask, or go in for a headshot when he has the chance.

Yet after clearing everyone out, he recklessly goes back to "shoot him in the head, or they always come back." It's not even the death itself, but the fact that had he followed his own rules, Dewey would have survived. Instead, he gets stabbed as blood pools out of his mouth and he's spread out on the hospital floor like a fallen angel with teddy bears strewn around him. The kicker? Gale calls while he's bleeding out, and her reaction to his death is heart-wrenching.

The one redeeming moment after this bummer of a sequence comes at the end, when Gale refuses to write about the fame-seeking Ghostface killers. She says, "Those f***ers can die in anonymity." Instead, she wants to write a story about a good man who used to be the sheriff of Woodsboro (cue the waterworks.) However, David Arquette told Looper in an exclusive interview that Dewey was never originally supposed to survive the first film, so the audience can take solace in the extra four films we got with him.

Best: Replicating Randy's meta moment

If any fans didn't get a little misty-eyed at the sight of the "Randy Meeks Memorial Home Theater" in the Meeks household, they might want to steer clear of any and all Ghostface costumes for a while in case they get any bright (or bloody) ideas. Following the theme of giving the new "Scream" characters a connection to the OGs, the requel's wonder twins Chad and Mindy are the niece and nephew of our first horror expert Randy (RIP).

Of course, out of all of the franchise's characters, Randy took center stage during the series' most meta moments — at least until his untimely death. Now, in the requel, his niece Mindy is here to follow in his footsteps. When it comes to iconic film moments, few can top Randy Meeks screaming at a hapless Laurie Strode to look behind her when he's watching "Halloween." Meanwhile, fans (and Sidney) yell the same thing to Randy as Ghostface stalks him. 

Keen on keeping up the family tradition, Mindy watches the fictionalized "Stab" version of the very same scene, repeating his oblivious performance as she yells at Randy to turn around while Ghostface lurks in the room. She's now reached a third level of meta, but given her uncle's fate, she should really know better. Before the meta incident, Chad asks what we all want to know: "Are you going to sit here and watch a movie about how our uncle gets killed?" Her response? "It calms me down." Why, Mindy. Why does it calm you down? The movies just aren't the same without Randy, and the homage is quite welcomed.

Worst: Twisted director's cut

Ah, yes. The killer reveal everyone has been waiting for since Tara's landline first rang. "Scream" gets even more meta than usual when Richie and Amber out themselves as Woodsboro's latest dastardly duo. So, what's the deal with Richie and Amber's unlikely homicidal pairing? Oh, they just hate the in-universe "Stab" sequels adapted from Gale's original books. Yup, that's it. They met on a "Stab" message board of all places before Richie stalked and seduced Sam. Of course, he takes a minute out of his very busy stabbing schedule to slut-shame Sam, the woman he actively manipulated — and that's not even covering the creepy age difference between him and Amber.

Like most of the Ghostface killers, they're whiny about their origin story, complaining that "mo one takes a true fan seriously." Essentially, their murder spree is a twisted director's cut they concoct to make a better movie that honors the original. Just go to film school, you creeps. Why do people hero-worship real killers? The reveal is a mixture of an epic, yet fairly predictable plot twist, topped off with lackluster motives. Dewey even calls the plot twist right at the very beginning: It's always the love interest.

Best: Ghostface's crispy death

As far as horror villains go, Ghostface is a simple killer. He torments some hapless teenagers on the phone in a discount costume from the corner store, then gets stabby when people don't want to play his deadly game. When it comes to bells and whistles, his kills don't have a whole lot of thrills. That's what makes the "Scream" franchise good — it knows exactly what it is, and doesn't need to prove anything with an onslaught of CGI and special effects.

Occasionally, however, the series does seem to feel the need to add some extra oomph to Ghostface's kills. Gale and Sidney's partnership comes into play when the duo takes on one half of Ghostface: Amber. After Gale says, "You killed my best friend," to Amber, she responds with, "Yeah, and he died like a p****." Big mistake, Amber — nobody puts Dewey in a corner, except Gale herself.

Sidney will allow none of this trash talk, opting to throw a gun to Gale to do the honors. In arguably the most badass scene of the series, Gale's shot causes Amber to erupt into flames. Bet she's regretting turning the stove gas on right about now.

After Amber says, "Time to pass the torch," Sidney says, "Enjoy that torch," as Amber burns to a crisp. Ahh, killer puns. While Gale got to torch the woman who killed Dewey, she's still not done wreaking havoc. Later on, after Richie dies, Sidney says, "Careful, they always come back." Right on cue, a flaming Amber barrels into the room, and Tara appears in the nick of time to finish her off with a headshot.

Worst: Ghostface goes through puberty

There's nothing more iconic in the "Scream" franchise than Ghostface's voice. Why? Because it isn't all that sinister. When Ghostface calls Casey in the original "Scream," he seems like your garden variety dude who has seen one too many horror films. His voice alone doesn't exactly scream "serial killer" — that is, until he begins his sinister tirades.

By keeping Ghostface's voice pitched at a relatively normal, almost likable decibel, he has been able to dupe people into staying on the line longer. Sometimes, his victims don't even know it's actually him. That level of suspense and deception has worked exceptionally well for the character for decades — and up to this point, it's a well-established character trait. 

Yet instead of following suit, the "Scream" requel goes for a more modern approach, lowering Ghostface's voice and making him sound immediately threatening. It's a surprise Tara stays on the phone with this guy past the 20-second mark. The movie does justice to the original film in many ways, but Ghostface's vocal renovations distracts from what is otherwise a stellar take on the classic villain.

Best: Billy Loomis looms on

When you have a franchise like "Scream," it's difficult to replicate the magic of the first one — especially when the villains change with each passing sequel and writers have to figure out new ways to keep the story fresh. The first film reached iconic status because of a cast that largely perished in that very same movie, and due to the ever-revolving slate of villains in the franchise, the sequels have never quite lived up. However, series fans are met with an epic surprise when Skeet Ulrich crashes the Woodsboro party, returning as Billy Loomis in the requel.

No, he doesn't get a resurrection in physical form, but viewers discover that Billy didn't only leave dead bodies behind in "Scream." As it turns out, he's the biological father of the new Final Girl Sam. We can chalk her conception up to bad high school decisions. Throughout the film, we watch Sam grappling with this revelation years after the reveal, and her trauma manifests itself as a hallucination of dear old dead dad. However, the stakes raise when Richie tries to kill her, and she sees a vision of Billy showing her where a knife is on the ground.

Up until this point, Billy is a hostile representation of her own self-hatred regarding her mental health and genes, but she accepts herself in this moment. In addition to the fun cameos from Ulrich, it's a nice redemption moment for Sam in that your genealogy or mental health doesn't define who you are. Horror typically demonizes mental illness, but this moment is a nice change of pace. 

Sam changes her family narrative with the line, "I'm introducing a new rule. 'Never f*** with the daughter of a serial killer.' Richie says, "What about my ending?" Amber retorts, "Here it comes," and slices his throat. Even Billy would admit that's pretty badass.

Worst: Setting up the next generation

"Scream" (2022) is a compelling mashup between the legacy and new cast. The requel offers perfect closure for the franchise — and it would be the perfect ending if they stopped here. The beauty of "Scream" and its sequels hinges on the fact that writers never rebooted the movie franchise with a new Final Girl. The "Scream" requel is a phenomenal homage, but most fans don't want Woodsboro without Sidney Prescott.

Given how many characters survive this movie, the film sets up the franchise for an overhaul that could continue for another 25 years with a new cast. But that will only add "Scream" to the list of franchises watered down by too many sequels. The movie offers closure for the legacy characters and teases the future of Ghostface, but nobody needs to see that play out on-screen. The 2015 "Scream" TV series was a great way to keep the franchise alive without overshadowing the films, but "Scream" movies that don't focus on Sidney just feel ... wrong.

Best: Wes Craven lives on

Wes Craven, director of not only the original "Scream" film but in many ways the genre that necessitated it, is nothing short of a horror legend. His films are so ingrained in pop culture that even horror's biggest haters can name characters like Freddy Krueger and Ghostface. 

Craven reinvented the horror genre, and was an invaluable element of some of the best satirical and deconstructed horror the genre has ever seen. While many horror franchises lose their director after the first or second films, Craven stood by "Scream" up until his tragic death in 2015. In addition to helming all four films, he even executive produced the 2015 "Scream" TV series. Craven loved this franchise just as much as its dedicated fans, and despite his passing, you can feel his presence throughout the 2022 film.

"We felt his absence, but we certainly felt his presence as well," Campbell said during an exclusive interview with Looper, discussing doing the fifth film without Craven, " He was talked about every day, and we were always discussing, 'Would Wes do it this way? Would he do it that way?' The directors wanted that input because they're uber fans of his. They became directors because of Wes." She praised the final product, adding, "I really think they've done him right. I think Wes would be proud."

Just as the movie honors its fallen characters, "Scream" (2022) dedicates itself to Craven with two words: "For Wes." Dylan Minnette even plays a character named Wes — another nod to the late, great filmmaker. All in all, no fan watching the movie can deny that Wes Craven's legacy and energy lives on in the movie, and that's all fans could hope for.